STAFF AT EAST DUNBARTONSHIRE COUNCIL SET TO STRIKE

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A union has warned severe disruption to local council services in East Dunbartonshire is imminent after its members voted overwhelmingly to strike.

GMB Scotland voted for industrial action on Monday against “unacceptable cuts” to staff terms and conditions.

A union spokesperson said plans by East Dunbartonshire Council’s ruling LibDem/Tory administration to scrap 
overtime allowances, impose a three-day reduction to annual leave entitlement and reduce redundancy benefit to the lowest of any Scottish local authority had sparked outrage among staff.

Following the end of a two- week ballot process, 75 per cent of GMB members, on a 97 per cent turnout, voted for strike action to defend their terms and conditions.

The union said the result delivered a clear legal mandate for staff delivering local services like bin collections, street cleaning and home care to withdraw their labour.

GMB Scotland organiser Hazel Nolan said: “Our members are sick and tired trying to make ends meet while doing more for less and this latest instalment of austerity shame is the final straw.

“The Tories and Lib Dems have rode roughshod over the recognised trade union bargaining forums and played gutter politics for the last six months to try and pick more than £1 million from the pockets of their employees.

“I doubt any of them have a clue about what it’s like working on the bottom rungs of local government pay nor will they understand the importance of these terms and conditions to our members and their families.

“And against the backdrop of a really unequal pay offer for Scottish local government workers this year, the message to this out of touch council could not be clearer: ‘Enough is enough’. The GMB will re-enter proper negotiations with the council if they recognise the vital contribution our members make to local services and step-back from this shameful cash grab.”

Joint Council Leader Vaughan Moody (LibDem) said: “The council decided on April 10 to suspend implementation of the revised Redundancy Payments Framework and begin fresh talks with our Trades Unions colleagues on this and other potential changes to employee terms and conditions. Meetings have already been held with unions and these will continue over the coming months.”

Joint Council Leader Andrew Polson (Con) added: “The council made difficult decisions when setting the 2018/19 Budget and recognises the impact of these decisions on employees. It is unfortunate the ballot results have been announced in this way and threat of strike action at this stage is ill-timed. We would hope through negotiations strike action can be avoided.”